Monday, July 9, 2012

The Way We Were

Ever since I was a child, I have wanted nothing other than a vagina. I would lie awake at night, fantasizing about its majestic curves, its mysterious crevices, its supple and moist texture. I could imagine nothing hotter than being penetrated by a hard, erect penis, feeling it pound against those beautiful walls deep inside me. I knew that I could not be whole, nay I could not be human without one.

But society was stacked against me. My parents hated it when I wore dresses. I was a boy, they insisted, and that meant I was supposed to play in the dirt with guns and sticks and foosballs or something. Of course I knew better: inside, there was a little girl howling to be let free. But it took me 23 years before I was finally able to build up the courage to say that yes, I truly wanted to be a Vagina American. 

I wanted to be a woman. And what's a woman without a vagina? A man, that's what. I wanted to be anything but a man. I wanted to let the woman trapped inside me out. And I knew that she could only escape through that glorious, flowing opening betwixt my legs. 

But first I had to convince everyone I was really serious. I dressed as a woman for an entire year. It was hard and all, but once my therapist saw I was serious she gave me papers saying that people shouldn't give me shit because I'm mentally ill and it's not my fault. Wearing makeup and a dress felt so freeing! Some people laughed and mocked me, and they still made me use the men's restroom at school. But I could kinda get that, though; I mean, I wasn't really a woman, not yet anyway. I was just some freak. I hadn't earned it.

It was hard. It was really really hard. But that's the price of real womanhood, you know? Well, that and $20,000. I worked really hard to save that money: nothing was more important. And when I had finally saved enough, finally gone through all the tests and therapy, finally proven myself, I made my appointment. It was one of the happiest moments of my life.

As the time got closer, I was scared, sure. But I knew who I wanted to be: a woman. Not a drag queen or a he-she fag or a crossdresser. And that's what a vagina is, ya know? It separates the men from the girls!

Anyway, after so much time, I finally made it to Montreal. In just a few short hours, Dr. Brassard was able to work his magic. And when I woke up? It was like being reborn. I was a women. A real woman. And no one could ever take that away from me.

Now, I'm recovering. And it will certainly take awhile. But after that? I'm done! For all intents and purposes, I'll be just like any other normal woman. All of this “trans” business will be behind me. I can finally just be “me.” And that will be the sweetest thing of all. 


In case you haven't already surmised from my subtle and urbane satirical narrative above, this is not going to be a conventional retrospective about Sexual Reassignment Surgery (SRS). If that is what you're seeking, one need only google the term to find countless videos and articles about SRS, most of which will be produced by cis people, for cis people (although the discerning searcher can find trans owned narratives with a bit of work).

As such, if one wants to write about SRS, it's impossible not engage that narrative. Indeed, the vast majority of cis people equate being transsexual to having Sexual Reassignment Surgery. It's a point of fascination, both morbid and mocking, for the culture at large. Increasingly, much of this is well-intentioned: progressive people, in particular, love to see marginalized people become happy with themselves and their identities. But this is undermined by the inordinate focus upon SRS even within these circles: never have I seen celebrations of name changes, of starting Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), of even simply coming out as trans that match the congratulatory and celebratory joy from cis people regarding a transsexual person's surgeries. It always has been and remains the most familiar and intriguing aspect of transsexual people's existence for cis people. And that creates a host of problems. 

Because SRS is not just about surgically altering one's genitals to be closer aligned to one's true sense of self. It's about legitimacy, legal, cultural, and social. It's about wealth. It's about those who don't or can't have SRS as much as those who can and do. It's about cis people's deepest fears and suspicions of trans* people. It's about definitions. It's about biology and culture. It's about relationships, sex, and love. It's about “real.” It's about verisimilitude. It's about impossible standards. It's about women, it's about men, and it's about everyone and anyone involved in that inherently limited binary.

I cannot write about this without writing about all of that. And if you think I am angry, then you are right. I am furious. And excited. And hopeful. And terrified. And thankful. And resentful. And a whole host of emotions complicated by the fact that I had quite invasive surgery two weeks ago that will take a year to really recover from.

These feelings, together, do not fit the conventional narrative. And, as such, this exploration is going to make you uncomfortable (and not just because I'm going to go all "nonlinear postmodern" on your beautiful butts). But I want to ask you to engage with that discomfort. Chances are, what you want, what most people want, is to read a story about how I was sad because I was a boy and then I became a girl and then I got surgery and then I became a real girl, and now I'm happy. You want to celebrate with me, unambiguously, to embrace unmitigated positivity. And believe me when I say I appreciate so much about that sentiment. And I will write about that. But I need to challenge it, too. Because the only way this story is coated in unmitigated, celebratory positivity is when we don't want to see anything else. And there is just too much else there.

Hopefully, I can find a way to show a bit of everything.*

[*Well. Almost everything. IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.**]

[[**I mean I'm not showing you my vagina. Which is kind of ironic, because that is what this is all about, right? And yet, you not seeing my vagina is also kind of the point. Isn't that deep? It'll be deeper after I dilate. *drops mic* GOODNIGHT EVERYBODY.]]

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